California Creamed Kale and Chickpeas
Category: Main Dishes – Vegan
For an easy and delicious entrée, combine sautéed kale, onions and chickpeas with a creamy garlic cashew sauce.
1/2 cup raw cashews
1 cup unsweetened soy, almond or hemp milk
1 clove garlic
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas or 1 (15 ounce) can no-salt-added or low sodium chickpeas, drained
1 bunch kale, tough stems removed, leaves thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper or to taste
Place cashews, non-dairy milk and garlic in a high-powered blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.
Heat 2-3 tablespoons water in a large skillet or dutch oven and water saute the onion and carrots for 5 minutes, or until softened. Stir in the chickpeas. Gradually add the kale and saute until kale starts to wilt, adding additional water as needed to prevent sticking. Cover and cook until kale is tender, about 10 minutes.
Stir in cashew sauce and crushed red pepper. Cook, uncovered for 2-3 minutes until heated through.
Calories 335; Protein 16 g; Carbohydrates 46 g; Total Fat 11.6 g; Saturated Fat 1.8 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 70 mg; Fiber 11.2 g; Beta-Carotene 5838 ug; Vitamin C 49 mg; Calcium 203 mg; Iron 5.3 mg; Folate 210 ug; Magnesium 130 mg; Zinc 3.2 mg; Selenium 8 ug
Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!
Satisfying Cilantro Summer Sauce
The hot time of year is upon us once again! Eating seasonally and staying cool will guide us toward lots of greens and veggies. This sauce makes the perfect partner to accompany your culinary creativity.
For the most part, nuts are heating, but almonds that have the skin removed are not. The skin of the almond is a tough substance to digest, and contains some anti-nutrients that are best removed. What remains is a protein-rich, ojas (think immune boosting & strengthening) enhancing, satisfying food.
In the world of Ayurveda, cilantro is known for it’s cooling effects and ability to cloy toxins from the body. It has an affinity for the skin and can even be made into a paste and applied to skin eruptions from rashes due to allergic reactions from poison ivy and the like.
Lime helps to impart the salty taste without creating excess heat, so you won’t have to add much salt to this sauce.
You can whip this sauce up in just a few minutes in a blender or food processor. Enjoy!
Fresh cilantro and almond sauce
If your agni (digestive fire) is up to the task of digesting raw veggies, this sauce can double as a dip for crudités or as salad dressing. Otherwise, it dresses cooked vegetables and grains very nicely.
- 1/2 cup almonds, soaked over night in a bowl and peeled
- About 1/2 cup water
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro
- 1/4-1/2 cup lime juice
- About 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Pink Himalayan salt & black pepper to taste
1. Place soaked and peeled almonds in a blender with ½ c. water, lime juice, olive oil, pepper and salt. Puree.
2. Add cilantro (leaves & stems) and blend well.
3. Add more/less water and/or oil for desired consistency.
Store in the fridge for up to 48 hours.
Makes about one cup.
Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!
Stay Cool with these Summer Ayurveda Tips
Like the changing tides of the ocean, the practice of Ayurveda encourages us to go with the ebbs and flows of the seasons. Ayurvedic wisdom has recommendations to help us maintain balance of body, mind, and spirit. These measures can be very simple but have profound results.
Reaching an imbalanced state from an over abundance of heat can make manifest a host of uncomfortable side effects. In summer you may feel irritable, judgmental, argumentative, have dry skin or skin eruptions, and experience diarrhea. These discomforts can be ameliorated or avoided altogether with these summer Ayurveda tips!
Avoid being out in the midday sun. If you go outside to exercise, try to do it in the early morning or evening. Bathing by the light of the moon instead of the sun is preferred and wear sunglasses even if you are only going out for a few minutes.
Wear the right colors
Colors effect our moods and body temperature. If someone says something that makes us angry we might say, “That made me see red!”. The color red stimulates and can incite, thereby increasing heat so, steer toward cooling colors in your summer wardrobe with whites and pastels.
Massage yourself with cooling oil
When overheated, we sweat and can experience dry skin. Massaging the body with coconut oil can cool and moisturize. Coconut oil also has the ability to kill odor causing bacteria. Always choose high quality, unrefined, organic oils. “Keep your cool” by massaging your scalp and feet with bhringaraj oil at bedtime.
Know your dosha
Those of us with a predominance of fire element (pitta) in our bodies can tend toward being more intense and driven to succeed. Intensity and drive serve a purpose but when pushed to extremes (such as in a competitive nature while playing a sport in the hot sun) are the same qualities that can burn us out physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Ayurveda calls the passionate, energetic, movement oriented qualities of pitta, rajas. Rajasic qualities are necessary in our lives and must be kept in balance. You may notice that people who are predominant in these qualities can also have sharp mental acuity. Out of balance, rajas can damage the myelin sheath that protects the brain.
When you practice yoga, favor a practice with moderate intensity and maintain a diffusive gaze (not sharp and penetrating). Exercise by swimming or walking in shaded areas instead of playing competitive sports.
Know your triggers
Avoid “heated” debates and “hot” topics that you know tend to rile you up. Meditating on the bija mantras (seed sounds) Shim (pronounced “sheem”) or Aim (pronounced “I’m”) can cool and clear the mind. A longer mantra is: Lokah Samastah Sukinoh Bhavantu (May all being be happy and free). This mantra promotes kindness and acceptance.
May you be happy and free!
Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!
Can my body survive?: The Sri Sri Yoga Teacher Training Course
While taking a three-week course in the mountains of Boone, I spent the first week battling doubt in my abilities. The second week brought many other hurdles. My mind was willing, but could my 50-something-year-old body handle the course?
Luckily, sensing the exhaustion of the class, Krishan Verma, the Yogi Master, adjusted the start time from 5:30 am to 6:00 am. Thirty extra minutes. Only thirty extra minutes. I really could have used four extra hours…
The weekly pattern
The classes each week followed a similar pattern. We had early morning yoga, the full sequence (40+ poses) followed by breathing exercises and meditation. Then, we would walk to the dining hall for breakfast and seva. After, we would go back to the classroom for more yoga poses and strength training until lunch. Following lunch, we would do seva before walking to the classroom building.
The afternoon consisted of lessons on anatomy, physiology, and the endocrine system, more yoga poses, and meditation before dinner. After dinner, we did seva then walked back to Veda II (the classroom building) for satsang. The day ended with yoga theory, and study sessions/homework before hopefully falling asleep before midnight.
That’s a demanding schedule for someone like me. Before my car accident, I was training to run a marathon. I was a little more used to a physically disciplined life then, but that was two years ago. By week two, I wasn’t just tired; I was exhausted.
Weathering the weather
Not only was the course challenging, but Boone in October brought constant weather changes. There would be eighty-degree days followed by twenty-degree days. The retreat center experienced flooding and sunshine, gale-force winds and gentle breezes, beautiful fall foliage and snow. Part of the physical challenge of the course became figuring out what to wear each day: flip flops or winter boots, t-shirts or thick fuzzy sweaters.
However drastic the change in weather might be, the retreat center maintained its awe-inspiring beauty. After the flooding, a double rainbow painted the sky. A bright full moon warmed the frigid night. There was beauty everywhere I looked. It seemed the weather was in celebration of our course.
A week of celebrations
The weather wasn’t the only thing celebrating. We also celebrated Diwali, the Festival of Lights. Our class dressed for the occasion and held a celebration after dinner. I was unprepared for the Diwali celebration – I didn’t pack a dress. Sensing my feeling of inadequacy, my class buddy, Sunita, invited me to her room, reached in her suitcase and generously gave me a beautiful dress to wear. Her generosity humbled me.
The celebrations continued with two birthdays. Celebrating our Yogi Master’s birthday, we danced, sang and ate cake. For Halloween, we celebrated yet another birthday. We laughed and danced with Jennifer (one of our yoga instructors) and even pranked her by dressing up our anatomy class skeleton with some of her clothes and placing the skeleton on her yoga mat. The nights ended with singing around a campfire eating candy from our Sanskrit teacher.
We worked hard each day, but we also celebrated with great joy.
A varied team of instructors
We had seven instructors who taught us every aspect of yoga. Andrew, a Sanskrit scholar, demonstrated how to pronounce Sanskrit words correctly. Medha, an expert on Ayurveda, lectured on the importance of diet. Bharti, a medical doctor, guided us through anatomy, physiology, and the endocrine system. Neha, Jennifer, and Neelam taught the morning yoga classes and were always on hand to help. There was so much to the course that I hadn’t anticipated. I knew there would be a Yogi Master, but to have six additional instructors guiding us was fantastic. It increased the intensity of the course because it heightened our growth potential.
The course was so much more than learning yoga poses. We were learning to be healthier, happier people from the inside out.
Deep cleansing… literally
During week two, we literally moved our insides…out. One day we learned how to use the infamous Neti pot. Our entire class, together, cleaned out our sinuses using salt water while hanging our heads over the railing of the dining hall veranda. The saline cleared away the gunk and carried it down the hill to mix with the fallen leaves. On the terrace once more, we learned the practice of Sutra Neti, or nasal flossing, which I was not a big fan of; I’ll leave it at that.
Another class exercise was Shankhaprakshalana: a salt water colon cleanse. This time IN the dining hall, our entire class drank salt water, performed eight yoga poses, and ran to the nearby bathroom as the concoction began to work. Then we would grab another cup of the colon cleansing elixir, return to our yoga mats and continue the poses until it was time for another mad dash for the toilets. In a way, it was a lot like the prep for the colonoscopy I had last year except for the classmates and the yoga. I have to add that it didn’t taste as awful as the colonoscopy prep. The Neti pot experience may have brought our class closer, but the Shankhaprakshalana took our bonding to a whole new level.
At first, I thought: I will never do this again, but the cleanse left me feeling lighter. I made a mental note to repeat the practice every six months. We were getting rid of trapped physical and emotional waste. Who needs to hold on to all that garbage anyway?
The emergency cookies
Two weeks of focusing on yoga created a visible change in me. My clothes hung more loosely, and I was breathing more freely (and not just because of the Neti pot).
There was a bag of emergency cookies in my room – Pepperidge Farm Milano. I unpacked the cookies the first day and carefully placed them on the desk. I used to eat 4 or 5 every night. Maybe it was because I thought it gave me control over my day, or possibly just because? After the first week, I found that number being knocked down to one and not every night. Just one cookie every now and then. The entire yoga process was creating a calmer Laurie, a happier me that didn’t really need a cookie before bed.
Looseness in the body
Falling asleep at night was no problem at all. In the past, I would have to take Motrin PM to fall asleep, but with the disciplined work came a tired body and a clear mind that had no problem sleeping. Waking up at 5 am became easier and easier. When the weather was good, I loved walking to class alone but for the stars brilliant against the dark sky.
With all of the mountain walks combined with endless hours of yoga, I was amazed that I had no soreness. My neck and back are often sore from the car accident I had two years ago. While I was taking the yoga course, I had no stiffness or soreness.
An emotional detox
The Yogi Master certainly knew what he was doing. All those poses we were holding were not only strengthening but also detoxing our bodies and emotions. There were times during class when I would notice tears streaming down my face. I wasn’t sad or hurt, yet the tears came, freeing me from trapped emotions. I wasn’t the only person experiencing tears in class. We became experts at knowing where the tissue box was and gently passing it to the person in need. That wasn’t the only release. There were times when bursts of laughter would erupt from the room.
During the second week, I began to concentrate on my body’s alignment, and not just during the hours of yoga sessions. While walking, I was more aware of my posture. Did I suck in my stomach? Were my shoulders pulled down and away from my ears? While I sat, was my spine straight?
The stronger my body became, the more I cared about my body alignment, and the less I cared about my flexibility.
My mind and body became stronger, allowing my spirit to take center stage. The total immersion into yoga allowed a safe place for me to grow.
Mind, body, and spirit
During the second week, our minds were challenged to memorize the sequence of poses, Sanskrit terms, ancient yoga knowledge, anatomy, physiology, and the endocrine system. Our bodies worked to perform the correct alignment for the poses while learning counter poses. Our bodies also had to build up from the cleanses while maintaining a tight daily schedule. Eventually, our spirits were challenged as locked-in emotions were set free allowing for growth.
My fear of not being able to complete the course physically was unfounded. The second week taught me that when led in the right direction, my body can keep up just fine. It even had energy left over to celebrate happy events. I began to feel thinner, stronger, and more comfortable in my skin. I felt my spirit grow as week two ended and week three started.
Two weeks down and one to go. Easy, right? Not really. The class as a whole was stronger and happier, but that didn’t make week three easier. No, it wasn’t easy at all. While the hours spent in class had become more routine, and the poses an enjoyable challenge, week three brought with it challenges that made me question if my spirit was going to be strong enough to help me pass the course.
To Be Continued…
Ayurvedic Recipes: Beet & Kale Salad
‘Beet’ the heat and build your blood
Ayurveda tells us that we begin to accumulate heat in the body just prior to the summer, so we want to stay ahead of the game by paying attention to the qualities of foods that can help us maintain balance.
Beets are nourishing for the liver. Cooked beets cool and cleanse the blood, strengthen the eyesight, and improve anemia, therefore increasing stamina by bringing more oxygen to the blood cells.
Kale is cooling as well. The fiber in kale prompts healthy elimination, while the bitter taste of kale and beets stimulate the flow of bile. This helps keep the gallbladder and liver from becoming congested. As the bile flows, it flushes toxins from the body and encourages healthy lymphatic flow, which detoxifies the body and fortifies immunity.
This recipe is proof that eating Ayurvedically does not require time-consuming cooking methods or obscure ingredients. The ease with which this salad can be prepared is very supportive to our modern lifestyles.
Beet & kale salad
- 1/2 cup grated carrots, steamed until soft
- 1 1/2 cups grated beets, steamed until soft
- 1 head of kale, chopped, with spines removed and discarded, steamed until soft
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut, toasted or raw
- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/2 cup flax seed oil
- mineral salt to taste
- large handful of chopped cilantro
1. Toss all ingredients together, and voilà, you’re done! You can’t ‘beet’ this for a fast, fresh salad that you can enjoy at home or take on a picnic.
Healing Journeys of Ayurveda: Ayurveda for Psoriasis
As though overnight, patches of my skin began to become flaky. Literally, I woke up and started finding patches of scratchy skin, more of them each day. What was worse, they grew. More and more of my skin, day by day, became a scratchy source of flaky consternation.
Not being in a relationship, I wasn’t so concerned about the look of it, but it was terribly uncomfortable. It had me worried, and in my worry, I wondered — what is this? Would it just go away?
So I did what any self-respecting millennial would do: I researched online. Several vague, unanswered questions later, I sought out a real doctor.
The first doctor gave me a misdiagnosis. The second did too. Here’s an approximate rehash of our conversation after the labs came in:
“The lab results came back, and I’m sorry, but it looks like it’s cancerous.”
“Your mole is cancerous.”
“… I didn’t have a mole tested.”
“… Give me one moment please.” A long pause. “Sorry, wrong person. Your test shows psoriasis.”
I was relieved not to have cancer, but troubled to have psoriasis–psoriasis is apparently an incurable issue. The dermatologist’s treatment options were bleak: There is no cure, but we can give you steroid injections to reduce the symptoms. Frustrated, I declined. Most of my online research at the time also suggested that there wasn’t a total cure or even a complete understanding of the cause of this skin condition.
The doctor who recommended Ayurveda
Discouraged, I saw a third doctor, a family friend, who referred me to Ayurveda. He said that Ayurveda has a great approach to dealing with skin issues.
While I was relatively familiar with Ayurveda, it was my first time relying on Ayurveda to help me manage an acute condition. While Ayurveda is not formally recognized as a medical practice in the US, abroad it has thousands of years of history of being used for preventative care and relief.
I saw an Ayurvedic expert who told me that the root cause of my skin condition lay in my digestion. He suggested that by altering my food habits and adding a few natural herbs and buttermilk to my diet, I could find relief.
Can Ayurveda help psoriasis?
I ordered the herbs and waited eagerly for them to arrive, trying desperately not to scratch all the while. It was winter, and it seemed to me that the cold climate only dried my skin further and worsened my condition.
But I waited.
Once the herbs arrived, I quickly started taking them. I also made a few key changes in my diet. I cut out pitta-inflaming foods, like tomatoes, oranges, chips, and spicy food. I started drinking more buttermilk and eating more fresh leafy greens, as I’d been advised.
The results astounded me. Within a couple of weeks, the condition started clearing up. Not only did I feel lighter and more refreshed, but my skin looked more clear and less itchy.
The best part is that the results lasted.
Since then, I’ve continued learning about Ayurveda and incorporating it into my life, and I’ve done a few seasonal Ayurvedic cleanses to maintain my digestive health. I’ve also adopted many parts of an Ayurvedic nutritional plan that is tailored to my own personal constitution, or dosha.
For years now, I’ve had my psoriasis under control. Occasionally, it will still flare up, when the winter gets very cold or I don’t eat right, but it always returns to rest. I haven’t had to worry about the pain, the itching, or the look of flaky skin, as long as I take care of myself.
I feel extremely grateful to Ayurveda. If you haven’t explored Ayurveda yet, I encourage you to consider it, especially if the quality of your skin concerns you. Once understood, the principles are simple and useful, the cleanses feel amazing, and the practice supports an active, mindful lifestyle.
Disclaimer: This article is written from a personal experience. It makes no claims and is not designed to diagnose or treat disease or offer medical advice.
Ayurvedic Recipes: Sauteed Greens
Ayurveda calls collard greens sattvic. This implies that they support peacefulness and purity of body, mind, and spirit. Collard greens possess bitter, astringent, light, dry qualities. Their digestion is aided with spices, healthy fats, and substances rich in digestive enzymes and stomach acid boosting abilities.
Enjoy collards as a side dish, a main dish with protein rich nuts, seeds, and beans or, in a soup. Read on to discover more about the greatness of these greens and the ingredients by which they are accompanied in February’s recipe.
The ‘personality traits’ of the ingredients
- Collards Greens are packed with fiber and are an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamins A , C, E, K, folic acid, iron, calcium, magnesium. Their bitter taste aids in de-stagnation of the liver and enhances bile flow.
- Tamari contains digestive enzymes and provides that “umami” taste.
- Apple Cider Vinegar will give your stomach acid a boost and supports healthy blood sugar.
- Ginger enkindles the digestion fire, keeps us warm, and detoxifies unhealthy fat from the body.
- Ghee-the butyric acid in ghee nourishes the gut and provides a great source of healthy fat.
- Pumpkin & Sunflower Seeds provide protein, are mineral rich and protect against free radicals.
Sauteed Greens with Pumpkin & Sunflower Seeds
- 1 cup water
- About 10 cups washed, dried, and chopped fresh collard greens
- 2 teaspoons fresh chopped ginger
- 1.5 tablespoon ghee
- 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- 1/4 c. toasted sunflower seeds
- 1/4 c. toasted pumpkin seeds
1. In a large deep skillet, on medium heat, sauté the ginger until soft and slightly golden.
2. Add the collard greens and mix well.
3. Add the water, cover and reduce the heat to low and cook until the collard greens are tender.
4. Turn off the heat and stir in the tamari and raw apple cider vinegar.
5. Transfer to serving bowl and stir in the sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
Wellness, Naturally: Balancing Pitta in Winter
In Ayurveda, there are three types of energy, including pitta. Pitta is a building block of the world, and can be found in everything and everyone. It’s closely related to digestion and intelligence, and is regarded as “fire energy.” Pitta individuals are typically athletic and tend to gain weight evenly. The pitta individual is typically success-oriented, energetic, quick witted and has a great capacity for achieving balance. However, an excess of pitta can overheat the body and mind.
Signs of pitta imbalance
There are typical manifestations of pitta imbalance that can signal as an imbalance of the mind and body. These manifestations include anger, irritability, overall discontent, acid indigestion, heartburn, inflammation and heartburn. Pitta can become imbalanced when one doesn’t get enough rest or eats spicy foods.
Here are three easy ways to bring pitta back into balance.
1. Drink a cool glass of milk. Milk cools the fiery energy of pitta.
2. Stay hydrated. Make sure to drink lots of water throughout the day.
3. Take regular breaks. When pitta is high, there is a tendency to focus and dive in. This can be useful, but it must be balanced with occasional breaks. This will help refresh your spirits and keep you cool and relaxed. This way you can work without letting the work overwhelm you.
Understanding how to feed your fire
If you have a pitta constitution, it’s wise to avoid pungent, salty and sour foods. Reduce sour fruits like grapefruits, and stick to sweeter fruits like mangoes, pineapples, grapes and melons. Avoid veggies like tomatoes, onions, and hot peppers. Instead, favor veggies like cucumbers, green beans, potatoes, cauliflower and broccoli.
Pitta individuals should use seasonings that are cooling and soothing. These include clove, cilantro, cardamom and fennel. Hot seasonings, such as cumin and mustard seed, should be used sparingly. And if you’re a non-vegetarian, chicken and turkey are better than beef and seafood. Dairy can help balance the heat of pitta and should include things like butter and milk.
Keep your cool
Balancing Pitta also includes lifestyle. Allow for some free time every day, so you can balance rest and activity. Don’t skip meals and wait till you’re famished. Spend time in nature. Take a stroll in the woods and keep plants and fresh flowers at home. Most of all, make sure to laugh a lot every day. You may even want to consider performing a daily massage with cooler oils like coconut. Take in some aromatherapy with mint, lavender or sandalwood.
At the Art of Living Retreat Center, we provide guidance on how to keep your pitta in balance. We offer a sense of connection, inner peace and rejuvenation. Nestled on scenic mountaintop in the Blue Ridge Mountains, our center is the ideal location for Ayurveda and personal transformation. Everyone is cared for like family.
Exploring Wisdom: Sri Sri on the Eight Limbs of Yoga
In 2015, Art of Living founder and guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar spoke with Philip Goldberg on the importance of the eight limbs of yoga. As relevant as ever, Sri Sri’s wisdom encourages us to consider all aspects of a Yoga practice as a path to greater fulfillment, health, and happiness.
Q: What would you like people to know about Yoga?
Sri Sri: Yoga is like a vast ocean. You can just go for a breeze, or you can go with an oil rig and drill for oil … Yoga offers many things to different people at many different levels–whatever they aspire for: union with the cosmic consciousness, or physical health, mental clarity, emotional stability, spiritual ecstasy — all this is part of yoga.
Q: Does it concern you that people think of Yoga only as asana [the familiar physical postures]?
Sri Sri: Not really, because at that moment that’s what they understand. But once they start doing asana they start seeing there is something beyond that. If interest for meditation gets kindled, then they are on the right track. But if it stops at exercise … it’s not bad, but they will not reach the goal.
Q: When people think of the classic eight limbs of Yoga…
Sri Sri: I knew you would ask about that. Unfortunately, people think the eight limbs are eight steps, one after another. You know, when a baby is born it’s not that one limb develops after another. All the limbs develop simultaneously. The eight limbs of Yoga are so interconnected, if you pull one all the others will come along with it.
Q: Some people think you have to master the yamas and niyamas before you can do the others. [The yamas and niyamas — five behaviors to avoid and five to engage — constitute the first two limbs.]
Sri Sri: The limbs are not sequential, they are all together. The practice of the others contributes to the ability to observe the yamas and niyamas. When we teach meditation in prisons, we see that the moment they have a taste of meditation, their whole thought process and behavior pattern changes. They start on the path of non-violence. They become very truthful, and the tendencies to cheat disappear. So the yamas and niyamas start happening in people’s life just when they begin meditation.
Q: How do your Art of Living programs fit into the eight limbs of classical Yoga?
Sri Sri: Yoga would be incomplete if even one limb is absent from it. All the eight limbs coexist. Our program is the same way. We do some asana, and some pranayama-breathing exercises-and meditation that leads to samadhi [the 8th limb; not a practice but a state of consciousness transcending thought].
This interview first appeared on Huffington Post, and is presented in excerpt.
Wellness, Naturally: Balancing Kapha in Winter
When you learn to look at the world from an Ayurvedic perspective, it won’t be long before your view on achieving and maintaining your own personal sense of wellness will become not only clearer, but also attainable in ways that you may not have thought possible. In this post, we’ll be focusing on the various techniques for balancing Kapha through the cold months of winter.
Know your dosha
One of the first steps toward gaining clarity and control over your own health is understanding the three dynamic energies known in Ayurveda as doshas. These are Vata, Pitta, and the one we’ll be focusing on specifically in this post, Kapha. Doshas are, put very simply, the biological energies that make us who we are as individuals. They are not one size fits all! Your dosha is not only as unique as you are – it is what makes you so unique.
What does it mean to be kapha?
Each of the three doshas project both mental and physical attributes that will reflect the elements related to them. The elements related to the kapha dosha are earth and water. This manifests in people who are thought to have a dosha balance dominated by Kapha as both a solid physical frame, as well as a strong, calming presence and grounded personality.
Kapha in winter – losing your balance
When you fail to take care of yourself properly, your doshas can become imbalanced. This will be noticeable both in the way you feel physically and mentally, but also in the way that you interact with others and even how they respond to you. If you find yourself feeling “off” or “unsteady”, chances are good that your doshas have gotten out of proportion.
Kaphas who allow themselves to be too sedentary in the winter months will suffer the consequences, and often find themselves experiencing some of the following negative effects:
● Weight gain
● Depression and lethargy
● Poor circulation
● Respiratory issues
● Oily skin
Balancing kapha: 3 easy ways to feel lighter in winter
Ayurveda is all about keeping your doshas balanced. Fortunately, when you become aware of an imbalance, there are a lot of ways to make balancing Kapha again a cinch.
1. Get Moving! – Regular physical activity is key for balancing Kapha . Bundle up and take an invigorating winter walk around your favorite park or better yet, use the chilly months to give hot yoga a try!
2. Keep Your Diet Light – It’s easy to fall into a routine of eating more in cold months, no matter what your dosha is, but Kaphas often tend to have a slow metabolism anyway. Be mindful of your portions and don’t let yourself go overboard, especially on rich, heavy foods. Which brings us to…..
3. Avoid Kapha-Rich Foods – Foods that increase Kapha will tip your balance, so you’ll want to take a pass on that big slice of gooey pecan pie, and anything else that is overly salty or sweet. Heavy foods will only weigh you down, but try taking inspiration from the pitta dosha until spring comes, with lots of warm, light veggies (think green beans, yellow squash, or zucchini) and oats, quinoa or basmati rice. And be sure to have lots of ginger and lemon hot tea!
If you’re new to Ayurveda, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by information – but don’t forget that intuition and self-awareness about how you feel mentally and physically play a big part in living an Ayurvedic lifestyle. It will soon become second nature and the benefits to your overall health are worth it!